1. pertaining to the iamb.
  2. consisting of or employing an iamb or iambs.
Greek Literature. noting or pertaining to satirical poetry written in iambs.


  1. an iamb.
  2. Usually iambics.a verse or poem consisting of iambs.
Greek Literature. a satirical poem in this meter.

Origin of iambic

1565–75; < Latin iambicus < Greek iambikós. See iambus, -ic
Related formsi·am·bi·cal·ly, adverbun·i·am·bic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for iambic

Contemporary Examples of iambic

  • Max Fish and Snow are wed by more than their iambic assonance.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Max Fish, Lost At Sea

    Joshua David Stein

    July 17, 2010

  • The lovers speak entirely in iambic pentameter, which works much better than it should.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Jude Law in Drag

    Caryn James

    September 23, 2009

Historical Examples of iambic

British Dictionary definitions for iambic



of, relating to, consisting of, or using an iamb or iambs
(in Greek literature) denoting a type of satirical verse written in iambs


a metrical foot, line, or stanza of verse consisting of iambs
a type of ancient Greek satirical verse written in iambs
Derived Formsiambically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for iambic

1570s (n.); 1580s (adj.), from Latin iambicus, from Greek iambikos, from iambos "metrical foot of one unaccented followed by one accented syllable," from iaptein "to assail" (in words), literally "to put forth." The meter of invective and lampoon in classical Greek from the time it was used for such by Archilochos, 7c. B.C.E.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper